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Sierra Leone Journal of Biomedical Research

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Parasites Associated with Sachet Drinking Water (Pure Water) in Awka, South-Eastern, Nigeria

CA Ekwunife, SO Okafor, CN Ukaga, NA Ozumba, C Eneanya

Abstract


A study to ascertain the parasites associated with sachet drinking water, (popularly called “Pure Water” in Nigeria), in Awka, capital of Anambra State, southeast Nigeria was conducted. This was in order to determine the safety and suitability of such water for human consumption. Sachet water is a major source of drinking water for low and middle class Nigerians. The increase in demand of this water has led to the proliferation of industries in this sector, because of the economic benefits derivable from the sale. Samples of differently packaged sachet drinking water were purchased from producers, distributors, marketers and hawkers. Samples were observed macroscopically and pH tested. Using a sterile syringe, 10mls of water was taken from each sample and centrifuged at 2,500rpm per minute. Sediments observed were placed on a glass slide and observed microscopically using x10 and x40 objective lens for a possible parasite ova or cyst. The surface of each sachet of the packaged drinking water was also washed thoroughly and the resulting water was centrifuged and observed microscopically. All the tested water samples met the W.H.O. recommended standard, of being colorless, tasteless, odourless with average pH of 6.93. No parasites were found in the water in the sachets but some parasites were found on the surfaces of the sachets. The surface of the sachets of the packaged water purchased from hawkers had the highest number of parasites {15 (41.7%)}. Identified parasites include cysts of Ascaris lumbricoides (5.6%), Entamoeba histolytica (4.6%), hookworm (2.8), Trichuris trichuria (2.8%) and Giardia lamblia cysts (1.9%). Hawkers possibly play a very significant role (χ2 = 20.21, df =2, p<0.05) in the transmission of parasitic infection from the outside of the sachets through improper handling. It is advocated among others that cleaning and washing of sachets of packaged drinking water before use will aid in breaking the transmission circle.

Key words: Nigeria, Parasites, Public health, Sachet drinking water



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sljbr.v2i1.56592
AJOL African Journals Online